Craft Beer: White Flag Is Raised has all the ingredients of a sweet surrender

White Flag Is Raised from Belfast's Boundary brewers
Paul McConville

IT CAN be a tough job trying to convert people to craft beer, so I get round this particular task by not really bothering.

While I don't expect everyone to become a sudden convert, what irritates me most is people who completely dismiss it out of hand without even trying it. ‘Beer is beer' I'm usually told, but while this is linguistically true, it has as much nuance to it as Theresa May's tired old mantra that ‘Brexit means Brexit'.

There is, of course, an element of truth – after all, all beer is made from four basic ingredients of water, grain, hops and yeast. What sets craft brewing apart, though, is the insistence on behalf of the brewer that these four ingredients be of the highest quality and that each of them matter.

What got me thinking along these lines was a beer I thoroughly enjoyed from Boundary last week. White Flag Is Raised is perhaps an apt name for this beer for me as I am a sucker for a bit of rye in the malt bill and so surrendered pretty easily.

Adding different grains to the malt in a beer is a great way of varying look and flavour. I like a bit of rye as it adds a little bit of warming spice and gives a beer a greater depth of flavour. When a brewer adds another grain such as rye, oats or wheat, the malt bill is still predominantly barley, as this is the easiest grain for yeast to break down, so additional grains won't make up more than 20 per cent of the bill.

I gulped down this easy drinking IPA with gusto, which probably wasn't the best idea as the always interestingly designed Boundary label informed me that it was 7.2 per cent. White Flag raised indeed.

This beer is also crammed full of tropical and citrus flavours, with a hint of orange marmalade and grapefruit peeking through. On closer inspection, I found out that the hops used were Azacca and Cascade. Azacca is a relatively new dwarf hop, used for aroma and bittering, and has a flavour profile of tropical fruits and citrus. Cascade has been knocking about a bit longer and brings a more floral element, with a hint of grapefruit too.

Getting to know the ingredients in your beer is important and it gives you a greater understanding about why brewers use certain grains and hops and what results they get.

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